Business Briefs – August 11, 2019

Fiat Chrysler Deal Gives Detroit Residents 1st Crack at Jobs

DETROIT (AP) – Marie Davis wants better medical insurance coverage. Jimmie Pleasant has been out of work for six months.

Both are among the thousands of people who are looking for jobs with Fiat Chrysler under a city program that gives Detroit’s residents first crack at the application process. It’s part of a $108 million land development deal between an automaker that’s building a massive new plant and a city where the unemployment rate is more than twice the national average.

Detroit officials hope the deal with Fiat Chrysler will mean residents have a better shot at good-paying jobs with the automaker, although Fiat Chrysler is obligated only to consider Detroit residents for the work before opening up the jobs to others. Fiat Chrysler is getting land and tax breaks to build in Detroit.

U.K. Economy Shrinks for First Time Since 2012 as Brexit Bites

LONDON (AP) – The British economy shrank in the second quarter for the first time in six and a half years as Brexit uncertainties weighed on business investment and firms reduced their stockpiling of goods after Britain was granted an extension to its departure from the EU, official figures showed Friday. The decline, the first since the fourth quarter of 2012, was a surprise, with most economists expecting the economy to flat-line.

Huawei Unveils Phone System That Could Replace Android

BEIJING (AP) – Chinese tech giant Huawei has unveiled its own operating system for smartphones that could replace Android if U.S. sanctions on the company cut off access to Google’s system. The company says it will release its first smartphone based on the new HarmonyOS on Saturday. The head of the company’s consumer unit says Huawei wants to keep using Android but can “immediately switch” to HarmonyOS if needed. Washington has labeled Huawei a security risk and limited its access to U.S. technology.

Walmart Pulls Violent Game Displays but Will Still Sell Guns

NEW YORK (AP) – Walmart has ordered workers to remove violent marketing material, unplug consoles that show violent video games and turn off any violence depicted on screens in its electronics departments. A spokesman says the retailer is taking the steps out of respect for the 22 people killed in the mass shooting at its El Paso, Texas, store. Walmart will still sell the violent video games and hasn’t made any changes to its gun sales policy, despite pressure to do so.

U.S.-China Trade War Weakening Demand for Oil

PARIS (AP) – The International Energy Agency says the U.S.-China trade war and a decline in world economic growth are weakening demand for oil. The Paris-based agency, which advises many developed countries on energy policies, cut its forecast for oil demand growth this year to 1.1 million barrels a day and next year to 1.3 million barrels a day.

Alaska Budget Woes Prod Debate Over Oil-Wealth Fund Checks

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Alaska faces a budget dilemma linked to its uneasy reliance on oil. The situation has politicians weighing changes to the annual dividend paid to residents from Alaska’s nest-egg oil-wealth fund. The checks once were considered almost untouchable. But the budget reality, and differences over taxes and spending, has politicians and residents choosing between the size of the checks and public services many expect.

U.N. Food Agency to Boost Aid for 4 Central American Countries

GENEVA (AP) – The World Food Program says it’s planning to nearly quadruple the number of people that the U.N. agency helps in four central American countries affected by drought, seen as one of the drivers of migration through the region. WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel says the agency aims to provide food assistance to 700,000 people in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua — up from 160,000 helped already this year.